County approves settlement with Vistra, notes significant tax revenue reductions

An agreement with Vistra Corp detailing the next few years of tax payments, as well as the condemning of a property outside Sparta, were the biggest topics of discussion at the March 19 Randolph County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker was on hand to discuss both of these items with the commissioners.

With the Vistra agreement, Walker noted, “We’ve been down this road before,” pointing out that the county previously had a three year Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with them. That agreement had expired and proposed was a new PILOT agreement that would run through to the proposed closure of the Baldwin Power Plant in 2025.

Walker stated that if the commissioners did not approve of this PILOT agreement, the power plant’s property would be assessed normally. However, if Vistra disagreed with the assessment, it could be appealed and lead to a lengthy and costly battle that the county would most likely lose.

“Vistra feels the property is worth a fraction of what it is assessed at,” Walker said. “They also feel the numbers in the agreement are inflated, but they want to wean the tax districts off.”

For more from the Board of Commissioners meeting, please see this week’s print edition.